My name is Shannon Preto, and I am the new YFM teacher and director. I’d like to introduce myself, give you a little bit of my background and what I am bringing to this role as the YFM teacher. Currently, I work as a pediatric occupational therapist with Emerge Pediatric Therapy in Carrboro, NC. I’ve been in this job since August 1, 2023 when I moved from San Francisco, California. I lived in the San Francisco Bay area for 21 years, and after a couple of big life ‘transitions’, decided to move out of San Francisco and into the Triangle. I moved here primarily because my best friend lives here, and what better way to begin building a community than with, and ‘through’, someone who’s been here for more than 25 years. It’s taken me about six months to adjust to a different pace of life and type of weather, but I’m enjoying the multitude of opportunities here, e.g. cultural, gustatory, and natural.

I’ve been an occupational therapist since 2017, and in the first 5 years of this second career, I worked in the San Francisco public schools. Prior to being an occupational therapist. I was a modern dancer, choreographer, and teacher. As a dance teacher, I taught modern dance to high school students who were studying in the theater department. Prior to that, I taught dance to elementary school and middle school just before getting my MFA in dance from the University of Colorado at Boulder. To complement that work, I worked as a manager of arts events with the Yerba Buena Garden Festival.  

My spiritual path began while I was raised in the Catholic Church in Cleveland Ohio. It was further informed during my time as a pastor’s spouse in the Episcopal church in the Bay Area. During the shelter in place, I dived a bit more deeply into a Buddhist meditative practice with the Tse Chen Ling Center in San Francisco. From what I am learning about the Unity Church, I’m excited to find the strong commonalities between my spiritual path and beliefs - we are all embodiments of the Divine- with the Principles and the Powers defined by the Unity Church. And I believe that it is in the relationships between all embodiments of the Divine when God becomes most real.